If we don’t, who will?

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They’ve taken away our voices. The oligarchs and dictators, with no knowledge of child development or of healthy and appropriate education practice, have forced in, and forced parents and teachers out.

Enough is enough. Make today the day you stand up for the children, your own or your students. Stand for the future. Save this generation.

If we don’t, who will?

The following excerpts illustrate where the USDOE has wronged the families of this country. This department has overstepped, over reached, and become lawless.

A prime example of all that has gone horribly wrong is the unchecked reign of Secy Duncan. He is the true definition of myopic. A dictator. Dangerous.
He wants full control of this generation. Common core doesn’t even really matter, so long as control is to be had. He ignores us because we do not matter.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/376677/obamas-lawless-ed-reform-push-frederick-m-hess

“Even if you agree with Duncan that states should require school districts to use test scores when evaluating teachers, it’s useful to keep in mind that our system of government rests on the primacy of law and federalism for reasons both theoretical and practical. At least four deserve mention.

First, those cheering Duncan now might feel differently if Rand Paul’s secretary of education decided to suspend NCLB for states that offered school vouchers — or if Hillary Clinton’s did so for states that required all teachers to have an ed-school degree. The thing about ignoring federalism is that it’s only fun when you like the outcome.

Second, this kind of freelancing makes it increasingly tempting for the executive branch to bypass the legislative branch. This avoids the need to build support.

Third, the federal government doesn’t run schools. It can tell states to make schools do things, but it can’t make them do them well. That’s a general caution for those who would “reform” schools from Washington. This observation applies many times over when operating without legislative sanction.

And fourth, even when policies are good ideas in principle, they can be a train wreck in practice — and the odds of that increase dramatically when they’re pushed through without the broad support and solid carrots and sticks that only legislating can provide.

The Washington-waiver ploy is Obama’s Department of Education in a nutshell: make-it-up-as-you-go-along pursuit of desired ends, lack of legislative sanction, and sparse concern for precedent or unintended consequences, all in the vague hope that splendiferous results will justify the troubling means. One can sympathize with much of what Duncan’s trying to do and still find his waiver escapades a debacle whose destructive, regrettable legacy will long outlive his tenure.”

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/20678-corporate-education-reform-wont-solve-the-problems-caused-by-poverty

This is the crux of the issue. It really is all about money. Merit pay, standardization, union-busting, school closures, austerity budgets, unregulated charters, all coupled with persuasive messaging and the endorsement of both major political parties means corporate reform will make a few people very rich at the expense of equity and inclusiveness. Education is just another avenue where the profit motive has been pecking away at the remains of public institutions that we spent decades building.

https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/top-ten-scariest-people-in-education-reform-8-arne-duncan-u-s-secretary-of-education/

“Before I begin, let’s remember a few pesky laws that make it illegal for Arne Duncan’s Department of Education (as part of the Executive Branch) to tell any state what to do about any aspect of education. States, not the federal government, hold authority over education. Period.

Under 1) the General Educational Provisions Act (GEPA law) and 2) the U.S. Constitution, the Department of Education has zero authority. You already know the Constitution gives states authority over education in the tenth amendment. But did you know that federal GEPA law states this?

“No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system”) Translation: the Department of Education has no authority and nobody really knows why it exists at all.

This is, in some circles, common knowledge.

So topping the list of reasons that U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan is on the “Top Ten Scariest People in Education Reform” list is this: he’s doing the wrong thing –and he knows it.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/01/13/u-s-education-policy-federal-overreach-or-reaching-for-the/

“Federal overreach in education is under attack from multiple quarters and will likely be diminished in any overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act, the current law governing national education policy. As a result, the powerful influence of nationally funded assessments and the Common Core State Standards may be reduced. However, the devolution of decision-making power to local or state levels will not ensure inclusively developed, thoughtfully crafted, age-appropriate or properly-specified standards for student learning. It will not ensure a shift away from over-testing or misuse of assessment data. It will not ensure a reasonable level of teacher professional autonomy.

A shift in who wields power and in what location does not necessarily mean better policies. It is more likely that a shift away from federal authority in education will increase the influence those with power and money, rather than enhancing democratic participation of average citizens. Recent indicators of this trend include the emergence of large contributions from external donors to candidates in local school board elections, the increasing influence of private philanthropy on policy decisions and shifts in authority from taxpayer elected school boards to private charter school boards that do not answer to the public.

In the absence of a broadly based, values-driven movement for a more just and equitable society, the diminution of a federal role in education is likely to undermine efforts to support the nation-wide, democratically governed public education system that is essential to successfully prepare all students for life, work and citizenship.

We do not need the federal government to specify teacher evaluation mechanisms, rank teacher preparation programs based on the test scores of their graduates students, fund privately operated charter schools or promote education entrepreneurs. The proper role for the federal government is to be the guarantor of justice and equity.”

This is a joke, a game, to these oligarch families and those who work for them, which includes the media.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/01/13/chris-cuomo-vows-cnn-will-help-white-house-shame-congress-into-action-on-education/

“This is a little off topic, but has anyone in the mainstream media ever questioned the premise of the federal government being involved in education in the first place? (And, yes, I’m well aware that No Child Left Behind is a Republican boondoggle.)

If I had a dollar for every time the media floated the idea of federalism, I’d be dead broke.

This widespread idea in the media that Congress and/or the federal government “acting” automatically equates a virtue is its own kind of bias. Gridlock can also be a virtue. At least when there’s gridlock, my freedoms are safe. The job of Congress is to serve the people, not “act.” And sometimes Congress serves us best by not acting.

The media always want the federal government to “act.” God help us all.”

An explanation of why common core is so hard to escape:

http://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?DISPATCHED=true&cid=25983841&item=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.edweek.org%2Few%2Farticles%2F2015%2F01%2F14%2Fthe-standards-undemocratic-push.html%3Fcmp%3DENL-EU-

“The Common Core State Standards have come to the fore precisely at a time when civically active individuals care much more than they usually do about exit, voice, and loyalty. But the common core has denied voice and tried to block exit.

The common core’s designers have taken the existing bureaucracy and increased its centralization and uniformity. By creating the common-core content standards behind closed doors, the authors increased the alienation of the public from schools as institutions worthy of loyalty. The general public had no voice in creating or adopting the common core.

The other approach in times of a deteriorating public service is offering better exit options. But the common core’s proponents have created an almost inescapable national cartel.

There has long been a monopoly problem in public education, which was why economist Milton Friedman called for opportunity scholarships (also known as vouchers) to create a powerful exit option. But even in the absence of opportunity scholarships and charter schools, we had some exit options in the past because of competitive federalism, meaning horizontal competition among jurisdictions.

The common core’s promoters are endeavoring to suppress competitive federalism. The common core’s rules and its curriculum guidance are the governing rules of a cartel. The common core’s promoters and their federal facilitators wanted a cartel that would override competitive federalism and shut down the curriculum alternatives that federalism would allow.

The new common-core-aligned tests, whose development was supported with federal funds, function to police the cartel. All long-lasting cartels must have a mechanism for policing and punishing those seen as shirkers and chiselers, or, in other words, those who want to escape the cartel’s strictures or who want increased flexibility so they can succeed.

The new leadership of the College Board by David Coleman, one of the common core’s chief architects, is being used to corral Catholic schools, other private schools, and home-schooling parents into the cartel. The proponents of the common core have now established a clearinghouse for authorized teaching materials to try to close off any remaining possible avenue of escaping the cartel.

What was the rationale for the common core? The name given to the Obama administration’s signature school reform effort, the Race to the Top program, promotes the idea that the federal government needs to step in and lead a race. Central to this rhetoric is the idea that state performance standards were already on a downward slide and that, without nationalization, standards would inexorably continue on a “race to the bottom.”

I would disagree. While providers of public education certainly face the temptation to do what might look like taking the easy way out by letting academic standards decline, there is also countervailing pressure in the direction of higher standards.

If state policymakers and education officials let content standards slip, low standards will damage a state’s reputation for having a trained workforce. Such a drop in standards will even damage the policymakers’ own reputations.

In 2007, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute looked empirically at state performance standards over time in a study called “The Proficiency Illusion.” The study showed that, while states had a variety of performance standards (as would be expected in a federal system), the supposed “race to the bottom” was not happening. The proponents of the common core are wrong in their claims that state performance standards were inevitably on a downward slide.

The common core undermines citizens’ exit option and competitive federalism. It was designed to do so. It likewise evades and negates the voice option. But the makers of this malign utopia have forgotten a few things.

They forgot that the desire for a voice, the desire for political action, can become particularly intense when people are faced with the prospect of nowhere to exit to. They forgot that hemming in parents and teachers would create a demand for alternatives and escape routes. Alternatives to the national common-core-aligned tests have arisen. States are dropping these national tests. States are also struggling to escape the common-core cartel itself. Parents are opting out of common-core testing.

By trying to block exit and voice, the designers and proponents of the Common Core State Standards have caused blowback: A large parent-, teacher-, and community-based movement has arisen to oppose the common core and its national tests.”

On the tie in with charters as the private sector takes over:

http://newswithviews.com/Hoge/anita110.htm

On breaking the ties:

http://www.pegwithpen.com/2015/01/its-time-to-break-rules.html

“I have to be honest. I have never been good at following any rules that harm children or harm anyone in the public schools – throughout my entire profession as a teacher. As I stand in the midst of my 18th year of teaching, I am amazed by the aggressive force with which the gauntlet is being thrown down across the nation as a threat or challenge to any students, teachers, or parents,who dare not to follow these “rules” or laws, that we know are unjust. We must administer these high stakes tests, force feed them to children, and the children must like them, and persevere with grit and rigor – for the good of our nation.

I am also fascinated by those who believe that a teacher’s refusal to administer harmful high stakes tests is an act of insubordination, and THEREFORE (they believe), these teachers deserve to face the consequences and be punished. Somehow, I have this image of folks throwing rocks at these teachers as the teachers stand in the middle of the circle – folks mocking them and jeering at them – casting stones with glee.

I can’t erase that image from my mind for some reason. Having been in the presence of folks who are such strong “rule followers” – that they would indeed cast the first stone if we lived in another time in history, or perhaps another place; is truly, an eerie, chilling experience.

I, personally, can’t imagine shaking my finger at ANY parent, teacher, or student who wishes to participate in an act of civil disobedience that indeed breaks some rules as a necessity – IN ORDER to protect children and do what is just and right in the name of humanity and in the name of a democracy that has lost its way.

When I think about this as a reality – I really question, what has become of our society? Our democracy?

If we are truly in such a space, a space in which adherence to horrible, cruel, life-destroying rules trumps doing what is right for our children, what indeed, is to become of us?

I’m not sure.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/duncan-lays-out-priorities-for-education-law-testing-preschool-funding-teacher-evals/2015/01/12/8d38f73a-9a05-11e4-bcfb-059ec7a93ddc_story.html

“I believe parents, teachers and students have both the right and the need to know how much progress all students are making each year toward college and career readiness,” Duncan said. “That means all students need to take annual statewide assessments that are aligned with their teacher’s classroom instruction.”

Duncan’s speech came amid growing anti-testing sentiment among an odd alliance of parents skeptical of standardized tests, unions that say using test scores to evaluate teachers and schools has warped education and conservatives who want to shrink the federal role in education.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate education panel, said he plans to work with the ranking Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, on an aggressive timetable to deliver a bill to the Senate floor next month.

A former U.S. education secretary, university president and governor, Alexander has criticized the Obama administration for dictating education policy to states and acting as “the national school board.”

He is considering ending the federal testing mandate, saying it has prompted states and local school districts to pile on more tests during the school year to measure if students are ready for the federally required exam at year’s end.”

http://www.curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2015/01/ten-moments-in-duncans-esea-speech.html

“Man. The writing bot must have been tired after a while, because after many pretty sentences, Duncan drops this clunker into the mix:

This country can’t afford to replace “the fierce urgency of now” with the soft bigotry of “It’s somehow optional.”

If you’re going to make an impassioned plea for “the federal government should totally tell the states what to do without allowing room for argument, dissent or difference,” you’re going to need a way better sentence than that one.”

http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2015/01/review-proposed-teacher-preparation

“They underestimate the cost and burden of implementing them, which Kumashiro says would be not only “quite high,” but also “unnecessary.”
With no foundation in evidence, they blame individual teachers – rather than root systemic causes – for the gap separating educational outcomes of affluent and white students from those of economically disadvantaged students and those belonging to racial minority groups.
They rely on an “improperly narrow” definition of what it means for teachers to be ready to teach.
They bank on test-based accountability and value-added measurement of teachers in analyzing data about teacher performance – even though those measures and tools have been “scientifically discredited.”
They are premised on inaccurate explanations for the causes of student achievement and underachievement, and as a consequence will discourage teachers from working in high-needs schools.
They will likely limit access to the teaching profession, especially for prospective teachers of color and from lower-income backgrounds, by choking off federal financial aid.
Finally, Kumashiro warns, the proposed regulations are rooted in “an unwarranted, narrow, and harmful view of the very purposes of education.”

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What are you doing to fight the federal and corporate usurp of the children and schools?

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